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In a committed relationship, both partners benefit from the use of contraception, but the costs are often largely or entirely paid by the woman. This is evident from a representative sample of 2,000 Dutch people, conducted by Esmée Zwiers (UvA Amsterdam School of Economics), Wendy Janssens, and Nadine Ketel (both from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam).

Previous research on contraception was often based on selective samples of people who signed up to participate. This sample is the first representative study on the use, preferences, and payment of contraceptives in the Netherlands.

Unfair cost distribution

Nearly half of the women in a committed relationship pay for contraception costs entirely by themselves. Only 1 in 5 says the costs are equally shared with their partner. Although 77% of men in committed relationships are willing to share the costs, this often does not happen in practice.

Women with a gross income below the subsistence level sometimes cannot afford contraception. This has occurred in 16% of respondents. 18% could not always afford their preferred method, such as an IUD.

More than just prevention

Besides preventing pregnancies, 29% of sexually active women also use contraception to regulate their cycle. Additionally, 1 in 5 use it to prevent complaints related to menstruation, and 4% use it for skin complaints. Among non-sexually active women, 31% use contraception for the same reasons.

Contraception out of the basic package

De Hoge Raad will soon decide on the lawsuit that Bureau Clara Wichmann filed against the state over the reimbursement of contraception in the basic package. In 2011, the reimbursement of contraception for women and people with a uterus over the age of 21 was removed from the basic package. The initial results of the study show that women now largely bear the costs of contraception themselves.

Independent research

The data collection for this research was funded by Bureau Clara Wichmann. This bureau had no influence on the data analysis or the interpretation of the results. The research was approved by the ethics committee of the School of Business and Economics at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Also, read the interview with Zwiers about the availability of the pill in the Netherlands and the economic position of women in society.